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BBC must switch on to PC switch off

I met a BBC staffer last night and we got talking about a story I did last week about how much the BBC spends on transport - around £30m a year for the last financial year. I thought this was pretty steep - especially the £13m spent on taxis.
Written by Andrew Donoghue, Contributor on

I met a BBC staffer last night and we got talking about a story I did last week about how much the BBC spends on transport - around £30m a year for the last financial year. I thought this was pretty steep - especially the £13m spent on taxis.

But as transport costs kind of come with the territory when your a media organisation sending reporters around the world, the Beeb probably deserves some latitude here and they have committed to reduce the transport costs and the resulting C02.

However the Beeb staffer said the real green story with the corporation is not with transport but with PCs and other equipment being left on overnight. This is something all of us have been guilty over time - especially given the eons it can take to power up and down Windows.

However it seems that Beeb employees are especially bad when it comes to switching off PCs and other equipment - many of them have a TV and a radio on their desk. Forgetting why with the likes of iPlayer people would need their own TV at work, this all means that many BBC staff are leaving several devices on over night for weeks at a time presumably.

The contact suggested that I should get hold of an infrared camera - and presumably a helicopter to get a picture of BBC Television centre at night - and compare it to the heat-map of the nearby housing estate to see how much energy is being burned by devices not in use.

The route of the problem is that a lot of the BBC PCs are quite old apparently - which means they might be running something like WIndows 2000 which takes an eternity to boot. I had experience of an old-school publishing company which was still running Windows 2000 which came as a bit of a shock on my first day and I was sorely tempted to leave the machine running to avoid the 15 minute delay to my day the next morning.

The Beeb has made efforts to get people to turn off PCs and my friend claims that people take notice for about a week and then things slide back to normal. Centralised PC management sounds like the way to go - and maybe a migration to Linux desktops - that way the Beeb can probably keep a lot of the same machines but run them with a more efficient OS. (software compatibility and application issues aside of course ;-))

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